My Turn: Laurie Hoppe-Ringer Boat race cancelled

| 17 Apr 2012 | 06:10

    The Greenwood Lake Power Boat Association is saddened to announce that we will be unable to conduct the inboard power boat races from Browns Point Park in the Township of West Milford this year. We had planned to hold our event Sept. 29 and 30, 2012.

    Since beginning our discussions last June, we have gained so much local support and encouragement. Many people from our township and the surrounding communities were on board with us to work toward bringing everyone an incredible weekend of exciting racing on the water and fun in the park. We would have included local businesses in our vendor section and highlighted many local civic groups and charitable organizations. Our dream was to create something wonderful for our community and help a very worthy cause.

    In 2010, a racing club from the Lake Hopatcong area contacted our club officers to ask if our club would be willing to work with them to resurrect the traditional power boat races on Greenwood Lake. Many years of lake weed issues and financial circumstances left our club unable to continue our events. As these circumstances had improved, we looked toward once again bringing this area a fun and affordable outing for our residents, as well as attracting out of town visitors to our beautiful highland township. With help from the Lake Hopatcong Racing Association (LHRA) this was accomplished and brought the excitement of power boat racing back to the public.

    Everyone was truly grateful for the assistance that was received from the LHRA which resulted in the races last May. Since that event, we had received many valid bits of advice that led to us changing our event dates to the end of the racing season, so as not to interfere with summer boat traffic, rather than the traditional May race weekend. We continued our discussions and held meetings and were well on our way to planning an even bigger and better racing event for 2012. As repeated attempts to communicate with the LHRA met with unanswered questions, we pursued our efforts, thinking that their club would be working on bringing back their own event on Lake Hopatcong, an event that hasn't been put on for several years now. This was based on the agreement made between the two clubs before last year's race. We were supposed to be on our own this time around, and we were ready, willing and able to do so.

    However, the LHRA returned to again plan a race event on Greenwood Lake. This led to a political mess within our region of the American Power Boat Association. A special meeting was held a couple of weeks ago in which our region's board of directors voted against letting the Greenwood Lake Power Boat Association run our event in our township. Repeated attempts to prove false many of the accusations made against us by the LHRA were ignored.

    When the GLPBA last attempted to hold our event in 2000, we met with a weekend of pouring rain. The previous year, we faced a lake full of weeds that shut us down. These gut wrenching disappointments led to a loss of club funds, but we quickly raised what we needed to pay everyone what was owed from those events. We realize that to put on an event this year would have been a huge expense, but we also know it would not have been the dollar figure reported by the LHRA. It was reported that the LHRA paid $5,000 to survey the record race course in 2011. The actual amount paid was $900 to recertify the course, using a copy of the 11-year-old survey map that was loaned to the LHRA by the GLPBA.

    Sponsorship funding is already in our accountant, and more would have soon been added to help us cover all the expenses related to our event.

    It is heartbreaking to realize that our event site has been pulled out from under us. Because we cannot run our races without sanctioning and insurance from the American Power Boat Association, our hands are now tied. We apologize to anyone who will be disappointed about the cancelation of our boat races, and from the bottom of our hearts, we thank each and every person who has encouraged us and helped our efforts.

    Laurie Hoppe-Ringer is the treasurer of the Greenwood Lake Power Boat Association.